Thursday, September 17, 2009

Food Lady Needs Advice

This post is for the Beans. I'm Halloween's Food Lady and I need some advice and any insights you can give me.

My beautiful Halloween is 17 years old. She was a feral who showed up here as a kitten with her mom and littermates. She's been an indoor - outdoor cat her entire life. We have lived in the same place all of these years. Halloween is a dainty tortie who has always slept with us. I am her person.

A year after Halloween came to live here, another stray adopted us - or rather adopted my husband. Onyx was a black cat with attitude to spare. Onyx didn't like the fact that Halloween was here already, and he tried to be the alpha cat. Well, in Onyx's mind, he was the alpha cat. Onyx was like Sammy and Miles. He was always whapping, engaging in disapproved activities, and being a wild cat. He was very entertaining, but also mean to Halloween. Anyway, my husband started feeding Onyx when we ate dinner. Onyx would sit next to my husband and start whining for his dinner treats. Halloween pretty much ignored the dinner table situation. She'd beg for a bite every once in a while, but she behaved as though begging at the table was beneath her.

We had to put Onyx down a few years ago - very sad for all of us. Halloween was sad for about a minute. She had the house to herself again and that was a good thing. But after a while, she took up Onyx's post next to hubby at the dinner table and began begging for food scraps. She's a tortie so she can be very demanding. This surprised us.

About 6 months ago, she became even more insistent - or perhaps more clingy. She started trying to climb up me with her claws as I sat at my computer and had breakfast. She has always liked to have "cat adoration" time in the morning and at night. I thought that's what she was trying to do. But then when we eat sometimes, she puts her paws on my legs and acts like she wants to jump up - or get me to give her food from my plate - as we are having dinner. Onyx never did this.

Believe me, we feed her. She's been to the vet regularly. She's a barfo kitty and gets meds for it. Does she just want more attention, more little food treats, or what? I don't want to spray her with water. That seems mean at this late date - as she just put her paws on me to jump up!

What do you all think?


Jan's Funny Farm said...

Oh, my, 17 years old and has that much determination. Sounds like an elderly human -- personality wise. We don't actually know any humans who beg at the table.

We're sure there will be some with good advice for you on this.

Zippy, Sadie and Speedy said...

Zippy is only 12 but in the last couple of years I've had to start giving her a spoonful of canned food next to my chair at the breakfast table. She's quite insistant about this and if I miss it she will do the same thing. Cry, paw my leg and act like she's starving. I think it's attention seeking in their old age. Er, older age.

Cat with a Garden said...

Siena and Chilli are my first cats and they are both just over a year old, so I don't really have experience with cats. I suspect though that Halloween is just forcing this habit a bit. When I got Siena I read that I should not once allow something I don't want her to do or else she'll try again and again (but it's so hard sometimes). I think it's a mixture between attention seeking and forcing a habit. I would try the odd "no" everytime she does it, pushing her gently away, but trying to ignore the bad habit in general. I'm sure you can change this again! Just don't give her "good"attention when she does it. I'm sure there will be good and more experienced advice later. As I said, it's more theory than practise in my case.
: )

Parker said...

I wish I had some advice, but strangely enough none of us beg at dinner-time. We may sit in the dining room (or near the coffee table if the 'rents are in the living room), but we don't try to climb legs or jump on the table. Miss Halloween sounds as if she wants some extra attention AND a sample of what you are eating!

Furkidsmom said...

We think Halloween wants some extra attention! She probably knows dinner time is the best time to get both of you at once.

Sniffie and the Florida Furkids

♥Da fambly cat-a-blog kitties♥ said...

I've read that animals, just like humans, can get senile and demanding in their old age. She is an elderly cat. If she were mine I would cater to her because one day she will not be there anymore. But, that's just me. You need to do what makes you comfortable.

Possibly what you could do is fix her a little plate of what you are eating (the appropriate foods) and give it to her as you sit down at the table.

Like I said, at her age - I'd give her what she wants. Once they are gone, they are gone, and the heart breaks wanting them back again - little quirks and all.

The Island Cats said...

Could be Halloween is just looking for more attention from you...sometimes older cats can get a little more clingy like that.

If her behavior bothers you, don't squirt her, you could just gently put her paws back on the floor and use a stern "no." She may learn that she can't do this anymore.

Tiger Lily said...

I do not beg for or even eat any human food except vanilla ice cream but ... there were two Meezers who came before who wanted to eat what Mom and my Daddy ate. They insisted on trying everything at least once. Chai could be very patient but if Mom ignored him just so long he would reach up and grab her arm and pull her fork down. Pfredd would sit on a chair near the table and wait but as he got older he wanted to sit on the table during meals. Mom and my Daddy usually just laughed about it but Chai and Pfredd both had good enough manners to behave better when there was company.

Since I think I could get away with begging if I wanted to so I do not have any advice for you other than pay lots of attention to Halloween and be gentle with her as you try to keep her from doing anything you are not comfortable with.

Skeezix the Cat said...

Mr TF's mom has a geezer cat who does the same thing win they eat. The FL sez NO kinda lowd, and puts his paws on the floor, and gives him a little dish of chikkin. He's ruint sevrul pares of pants by clawing into them. The FL thinks his mom (hoo is also a geezer) furgits to give him enuf attenshun.

Happy Cat Family said...

If it was a younger kitty, I would say... no more... at all... there can't be a mid term - it is either yes for food scraps, or no -, not AT ALL.
They can't rationalize when it is correct to have it and when it is not... so the only way to break the habit is to not have it at all...
same thing as anything else when it comes to pets.
Now, since she is 17, and her time here is not that much... I would just spoil her rotten and give her what she wants... safely...
As for your legs.... Have you tried putting Soft Claws on her, at least this way you don't get hurt ;-)...
So, if you want to break the habit, just quit doing it - cold turkey, feed her only on her "feeding station", and apply Soft Claws to spare your legs!

Forty Paws said...

Hi! Jenny is 15 now and has a thyroid problem which developed over the last year. She takes a pill now in her tuna juice. She has become very demanding for people food and walks around crying and carrying on when she smells something good. You might have Halloween checked for a thyroid issue.

Luf, Us

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